Japan women win bronze
The final day of the Asian Games women's cricket tournament is today, and that means it's time for the medals to be given out. Bangladesh and Pakistan are, at the time of writing, about to play-off for the gold, but the interest for followers of associate and affiliate cricket was the bronze medal match between Japan and China.
Japan won the toss and chose to put China into bat. As usual, China struggled to score their runs quickly. Japan bowled well, with three of their bowlers bowling four overs for just eight runs. Kurumi Ota was the pick of those three, taking two wickets.
Only two of China's batsmen reached double figures, Zhang Mei the top scorer with 26, and they were restricted to 65-6 from their 20 overs.
But China's strength is in their bowling, and they bowled tightly against the Japanese upper order. Mei Chun Hua went for just three runs from her four overs, but not all bowlers were so economical. In the end, extras was the difference, with China conceding 21 of them, including 14 runs in wides.
Those extra deliveries proved to be the reason Japan won, as they reached their target with just five balls to spare. Ema Kuribayashi, one of the best batsmen in the tournament, top scored with an unbeaten 24. Japan win by 7 wickets and with it, the first bronze medal for cricket at the Asian Games.
The Asian Cricket Council, meanwhile, will no doubt be concerned that the best non-test team at this tournament was a team from the East Asia Pacific region rather than from their own region. Japan have come a long way since the team that conceded 104 extras against the Netherlands in 2003 and fully deserve their medals.
The final is now underway, but associate and affiliate cricket watchers will now turn their attention to the men's tournament, which starts on Sunday. In those matches, China will take on Malaysia whilst Hong Kong will play Nepal.